Posted at Oct 3, 2019 9:12:00 AM by THAT Agency | Share
A managed services marketing plan starts with understanding your business's qualities. How do they fit into your industry? Understand this and you can begin seeing how potential clients perceive your business. This gives you a place to start adjusting your MSP marketing plan – or to create a new one altogether.
Run a SWOT Analysis
A managed services marketing plan is different for every provider. You have unique strengths and weaknesses that will be different from your competitors. You can take advantage of specific opportunities and have to be wary of particular threats. These Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats form a SWOT analysis.
Be real about what these are. Many are tempted in a marketing plan to market to themselves as well. Avoid doing this. It will only make communication with customers down the line more complicated.
Recognize what your business drivers are and how you intersect with these. Your MSP marketing plan should be practical in nature. The more detailed and transparent you can make your services, the easier it is for potential customers to understand what it is they're looking at.
If they're confused by a detail that is there, that's still better than being confused by a detail's absence. You can teach them and make them more confident in concepts they'd like to know better, thus fostering trust.
Research the Industry & Marketplace
You can learn quickly from others' mistakes. Research your marketplace and industry. Know your place in it, or at least what it is for now. Know where you want to get to. Understand if you fill or have access to a particular lane in managed services that others lack.
When you target clients, research their industry. Don't just know what you can provide them in managed services. They're not just looking for a provider to run elements for them. They're looking for a provider that makes it easier for them to expand and grow. The better you understand their industry, the better you understand how your business's unique strengths help them.
In a client's eyes, your role doesn't end with managed services. That's only where it begins. Your business's role ends with helping them achieve their goals within their industry. You need to know not just how you can help their day-to-day operations, but how you can help their long-term goals.
Differentiating Your Brand
We mentioned understanding particular lanes. Perhaps your business excels at penetration testing to ensure every layer of security. That's not something that every MSP is going to have extensive experience providing.
Perhaps instead of just providing disaster recovery solutions, you've helped businesses write and test detailed plans.
Perhaps you excel at training personnel, an area where some MSPs flounder.
Perhaps you have a deep understanding of compliance and oncoming legislation in particular regions of the world. Depending on the region, this is something that many MSPs won't be able to provide.
Each of these is a qualification that separates you from your competitors. Each of these qualifications is also a disqualification for those competitors. Whatever it is that separates your MSP out should be central to your managed services marketing plan.
Maybe you don't close on a contract with a potential client. What happened? Who did they go with instead? Is there something that competitor can offer that you can't? Understanding this can help you recognize patterns and change your offerings.
These are only failures if you don't take them as chances to improve. It may mean adjusting services, lowering a price point (and thus a cost), or changing something about your MSP marketing plan.
Adapt with Your Client
Marketing doesn't end once a client signs an agreement. You may be able to anticipate changes in service better than they can. This enables you to see and provide opportunities for them (or to protect them from threats). Be clear about what you anticipate for their business so that they can make an adjustment ahead of time.
This helps them rely upon you and makes them feel safer upgrading or increasing the services provided.
Content, Content, Content
A managed services marketing plan is about building strength over the long term. That means inbound marketing and content creation has to be a major focus. It's a cost effective way of creating and nurturing leads.
Unlike most marketing, an MSP marketing plan rarely closes on a 'sale' quickly. Organizations are finicky, shop around, and quick to scare. They need to come to rely upon you and trust you. Content creation provides this because they'll regularly re-visit in order to understand difficult concepts and gain more confidence.
If they look to your site as a teacher that helps them grasp difficult concepts, that's an immediate advantage you have over another business. If they're to the point where they're already sharing your articles with employees to help them grasp those concepts, then they're already very comfortable with the idea of your thinking being a part of their business.
Collect data on everything to assess your plan. Are there low-risk processes that are easy to automate? That frees up time for your sales team to focus on other tasks.
Do you have the information to segment your email marketing into groups? By focusing content to what each group is most interested in learning, they're more likely to engage with that content.
Does your content creation continue to build engagement? You may see an immediate spike if a particular blog or video becomes popular, so consider long-term trends. The goal of content creation is to build engagement and climb SEO rankings over time. Can you see steady engagement across all content improving?
Is there particular content that's proving extremely popular? You might consider focusing more on this, or making it a regular feature. If visitors know to visit your site every week for content they enjoy, they'll become increasingly likely to share your content and bring other visitors on board. That creates more leads, all without spending an additional dime.
For help developing and executing your managed services marketing plan, contact the team at THAT Agency. Let us do your marketing, so you can focus on your business and your clients.